Big Brother’s house is open once more! Every week, Parade’s Mike Bloom will be bringing you interviews with houseguests as they get evicted from the game.
On Day 30, Jessica Graf found herself at the top of the world. It had not been an easy month for her; even though she had quickly found a strategic and romantic partner in matter-of-fact Marine Cody Nickson, they were blindsided on the first eviction vote, and Cody was sent out soon after. But it turned out to be a temporary leave of absence, as Cody re-entered the game a week after via his “a-maze-ing” performance in the Battle Back Showdown. With Cody came the natural target of their pairing, and Jessica was able to guarantee safety and power for herself with a Head of Household win. In addition, America had voted to give her the final prize in the Den of Temptation: the eviction-canceling Halting Hex. But oftentimes, what goes up must come down in the Big Brother house, and Jessica’s circumstances, much like Otev the Possessed Piglet, went from sweet to sour almost instantaneously, leading to her eviction after 51 days in the house.
Jessica tried to learn from the mishaps of Cody’s HoH week and went for an outright target and pawn in her initial nominations of Josh Martinez and Ramses Soto, respectively. Things blew up in her face, much like the smoothies of those who lost the Veto competition to Jessica that week, when Paul Abrahamian (a longtime foe of the “Jody” pair) rallied the houseguests to send the pawn packing. With Paul winning the next Head of Household competition, Jessica was backed into a corner once more, and teased about her game-changing twist at the live show, flummoxing her fellow houseguests and host Julie Chen. Choosing to remain vague about her guaranteed safety, Paul decided to call her assumed bluff and nominated her and Cody. Though this forced Jessica to use the Halting Hex to save them, the week was anything but tame, as a series of various confrontations, arguments and escalating situations culminated in a screaming (and for some, barking) match between Jessica and several members of Paul’s alliance. At the next Head of Household competition, Josh put his money where his pots were and scored victory, so even though the Halting Hex had risen, Jessica’s eviction night was far from dead.
Facing immediate danger with no power to protect them, “Jody” had one final trump card left in their deck: the Temptation Competition. In the newly instituted competition (which came as a consequence of Jessica accepting the Halting Hex in the first place), Cody powered through and won himself safety, while Jessica purposely ignored the jarred organs and corn heads that roamed the house to wind up as the third nominee. Josh was forced to nominate two of his own allies, and targeted another showmance in Mark Jansen and Elena Davies. When Cody was picked to play in the Veto competition, their plan looked to inch closer to success, but that all came to an end in a literal blink when Christmas Abbott chose to use her own temptation, the Ring of Replacement, to take Cody’s spot. After losing the Veto to Mark, Josh seemed to entertain the idea of getting rid of Elena as a threat, but a last-minute fight between he and Jessica spelled her doom. Today, Jessica talks with us about whether she thinks she isolated herself with Cody socially, how she would have played the Hex differently looking back, and who she would have voted for had she made the jury.
How do you think you were positioned at the point of the Battle Back? Do you feel like Cody’s return was the thing that drew the target back to you?
The feeling amongst all of the houseguests when they heard of the Battle Back was insane. Everyone was terrified. No one wanted to see him back into the house. They picked Pau,l and Paul is the one that let them down. When I was HoH, Cody’s social game was impeccable and yet, nothing changed. We were constantly lied to and backstabbed the entire season. There was no way we would fly under the radar if we were together.
Let’s talk about your week as HoH. Knowing how the house blindsided you last time, why take the risk to put up a noticeable pawn like Ramses against Josh, when you could have put up someone like Alex and get rid of someone you disliked either way?
Trust me, I thought about it. But the goal for my HoH was to set Cody and I up to fly under the radar if we couldn’t get HoH the next few weeks. I thought Ramses was well-liked, so I figured putting him up next to Josh would be easy. I was completely wrong. I thought about putting Alex up, but I tried playing the safe move for once and it bit me in the butt.
Looking back, was there a way you could have played the Halting Hex differently? Do you think if you were completely upfront about the power to Paul at the beginning of the week, there’s a chance he would have spared you? Or were you always going to see the block in order to “flush” it out?
I really wish that I would have been more upfront with Paul. I was trying to be a little quieter and was hoping Paul would be more fearful and would allow a different HoH to find out about the temptation…but I should have known. If there is an option to find out something in the house, he’s going to take it. It was inevitable.
It became noticeable throughout your time in the house that you and Cody tended to isolate yourselves and not ingratiate with the rest of the houseguests, Kevin’s birthday being the most recent example. Do you think that helped contribute to everyone turning against you, or was it too difficult to overcome the personal conflicts you had with some others?
It was just very exhausting to have people attack us constantly. Cody and I were ourselves from beginning to end. I am not a fake person, I stayed true to who I was and I was not going to pretend to be best friends with people who were constantly kicking me down. I wish that more people weren’t playing characters. Paul and Alex told people not to talk to Cody and I because it put their game in danger. People in the house were telling others to stay away from us.
You just missed out on making the jury this season. Were you on the jury, who outside of Cody would you give your vote to in the end? Who do you think is best positioned right now to make it all the way as we segue into the next phase of the game?
I would give my vote to Paul if I can’t vote Cody. Right now I don’t see anyone beating Paul. Paul being on top is getting kind of boring.
Big Brother 19: Jessica Graf Graphs Her Rise and Fall in the Game – Parade